Yesterday, Bob Finnan wrote about LeBron’s duel with Kevin Durant for the scoring title. The two are separated by the slightest of margins- 9 points. Think about that. After 70 games and those two are only 9 points away from each other. They get more than that in a quarter most nights. It really is anyone’s to win. Many would probably give the edge to Durant because his team will be fighting for playoff position right down to the final game. The Cavaliers on the other hand could have things wrapped up with a couple games to go and allow LeBron to play fewer minutes or sit completely.
In proper context, LeBron was saying that the scoring title is a distant second to the team’s success. As it should be. But it does bring up an interesting question- could he really win it every year?
Make no mistake- LeBron was dead serious when he said it. I saw the video clip of the interview, and he was emphatically saying that the title could be his if he wanted it. Is that too bold a claim for a guy that’s only won one scoring title in his career?
James won the award in ’07-’08 when he averaged 30.0 points per contest. Last year, his MVP year, he finished behind Dwayne Wade. The two seasons before his title, James finished behind Kobe Bryant. The point against is that there are a lot of scorers in this league. It would be rather bold to say that any one of them could sweep the award year after year.
I do believe that any one of those guys (LeBron James included) could win the scoring title every year if they wanted to. They would win it because they would be playing with a different goal in mind. See LeBron, Wade, Kobe, Durant- they all want to win. It’s not good enough to them to just outscore their opponent. So if a player switched his priority from winning/scoring to scoring/winning they would be playing by a whole other set of rules, and probably would be successful from an individual perspective.
LeBron is capable of taking the scoring title this year hands down. If you think about it, LeBron isn’t even looking to score much in the first quarter. He keeps deferring to his teammates. They run plays for Hickson and Jamison in that first period to try and get them going. It allows LeBron to find out how the defense is going to play him and pick his spots. Again, the goal though is for the team to be successful, not just LeBron.
So do I think LeBron could win the scoring title every year- sure he could. Especially if that was his priority.